What makes a club legend? by Jonbo
My friends and I were at the pub yesterday chatting rubbish as usual, until we stumbled upon an interesting subject. How is a player considered a club legend?
I thought this would make a great subject for discussion, as I imagine the majority of Arsenal fans would be in agreement on what players qualify as a club legend, but we may have different parameters when quantifying a player’s legendary status.
We may all have different factors to consider when judging a player, but I feel the five elements I have chosen cover most ground. All elements have to be applied to each player. E.g. One could have a player who massively contributed to the club’s success over a long period of time, making them a legend, but then moved to a rival, and continually slagged your club off. Would they still be a legend?
Key Elements to consider
Length of time at club
Playing for a rival club
Length of time at club
I cannot decide how important this is? If I had to pick a minimum time spent at a club, maybe 4 years, but then you could have a player at a club for just 2 or 3 years, and be absolutely amazing! Tough one to call.
One can have a player at a club for a very long time, winning tons of trophies, but should he be considered a legend if he wasn’t playing that much? I think a player needs a fair amount of game time.
A bit like “how long is a player’s career at a club”, “trophies won” is difficult to judge the importance of. E.g. Fabregas only won an FA Cup at Arsenal, but consistently gave us brilliant performances, over a long period of time. And we’ve seen pretty average/rubbish players win the biggest prizes around, just look at some of the players that won the CL with Liverpool 04/05 season. Are they all legends because of that historic victory over Milan?
Did the player have a good attitude playing for us? If he did leave the club before retiring, was it amicable? Does it affect his status as a legend, what a player gets up to in their personal life? Ryan Giggs anyone?
Playing for a rival club
I know some fans that are very clear on this one. If you play for a direct rival, you’re finished as a legend, especially if you move directly to that rival. The anger is tempered somewhat, with a transfer or two inbetween.
Considering the 5 elements I have chosen (although you may have more or less), I thought it would be interesting and a bit of fun to see who is a legend out of a short list I have chosen. These are players that divide opinion about their legendary status, and not all are Arsenal players (which obviously makes it harder. So who is and isn’t a club legend.
Cesc Fabregas – Arsenal Legend
We got 7 excellent seasons from him, during a difficult period at Arsenal as the club dramatically regressed after dismantling the “The Invincibles” in a blink of an eye, and for what for? He didn’t leave the club in the best of ways, reportedly refusing to train and play, and there was also the Barcelona shirt incident with his Spanish teammates. He later played for Chelsea as well.
For me, he’s a legend. Given how good he was, and how poor Arsenal were becoming year by year, he could have easily left us many years earlier. He was unbelievably good, right from day one, and it’s a shame we couldn’t build a team around him. Playing for Chelsea hurt a little, but it wasn’t a direct move.
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid Legend
It’s very difficult for a non Madrid fan to answer this, but I think he goes down as a Real Madrid legend, but only by the skin of his teeth. Missed a lot of football due to injury, possibly feigning the severity of injuries to keep fit for Wales, and attitude problems, which has angered some Madrid fans. On the positive side, brilliant when fit, scored really important goals in huge games, and played a big role in the greatest Champions League team we’ve ever seen!
Liverpool’s so-called “lesser” names in the historic 04/05 Champions League victory – Not Liverpool Legends
When I say “lesser” names, I am referring to players such as: Finnan, Traore, Baros, Cisse, Smicer, etc. They all played a major role in what is considered the greatest final of all time, and deserve recognition for that, but does one historic victory make these players legends, given their otherwise very ordinary Liverpool careers? The majority of my Liverpool friends say no, although if it was Liverpool’s first ever European Cup success, then possibly they could have been considered legends?
What are your thoughts, and are there many Arsenal legends we could name from the last decade? Not many that I can think of.
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